The Women’s Champions League group stage draws to a close this coming week and – for the two British sides – qualification will come down to the final round of fixtures.
Chelsea and Arsenal were both in European action in midweek after their clash against each other in the FA Cup final last weekend.
Ahead of this coming week’s action we still don’t know for certain whether the Blues or the Gunners will be in the Champions League last-16.
Chelsea’s Group A has arguably been the most entertaining of all.
Emma Hayes’ side are sitting top at the moment on 11 points, but they will face second-placed Wolfsburg on Thursday, with a win likely required for the German side.
Juventus are close behind Wolfsburg in third, and while both teams have eight points, the Italians slipped down below the Germans on goal difference after the results this week.
Chelsea and Juventus drew 0-0 in the most recent round of fixtures, with the best entertainment coming from a pitch-invader looking to capture a selfie with some of the players.
Sam Kerr, who isn’t new to videos going viral on social media about her, found herself in the limelight once again. She wasn’t too impressed by the incident and subsequently body checked the uninvited guest as he was being chased off the pitch by stewards, to the amusement of the fans in the stands, before the rest of the world also watched online.
On a number of levels, this shoulder by Sam Kerr is one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever seen pic.twitter.com/A8RUHxx4iT
— Gavan Casey (@GavanCasey) December 9, 2021
The point keeps Chelsea in pole position, but has meant a missed opportunity to ensure they will progress, leaving this final game a potentially trickier prospect.
This year, Juventus have put up a far stronger challenge on the UWCL stage and, after a draw and win over Wolfsburg already this campaign, they have the simpler task of playing bottom-ranked Swiss side Servette in their final group game.
A defeat for Chelsea against Wolfsburg, and a big win for Juve, could still see Chelsea exit at this stage – so a point against the Germans is essential for Hayes’ side.
Chelsea fought it out with Wolfsburg in the opening group game back in October in a dramatic 3-3 draw which saw Pernille Harder equalise in the 92nd minute against her former team.
Both Group A games will, excitingly, be played at the same time on Tuesday night.
Arsenal will also need to wait until the final group games are played to be totally sure of their spot as runner-up in Group C.
They travel to Hoffenheim to face the German side who are sitting in third place and hoping to make up a three-point gap on the Gunners. However, while Arsenal have a healthy goal difference of plus-four, Hoffenheim’s current goal difference of minus-seven makes it highly unlikely the London side will be ousted from the hat for the knock-out stages.
Nevertheless, after Arsenal’s 4-0 midweek defeat to Barcelona at the Emirates, the team and coaching staff will perhaps feel some extra pressure.
However, despite losing their last two games, to Chelsea in the cup and then Barca, they should feel confident going into the game, having already beaten Hoffenheim 4-0 at home when the sides first met.
Cup final result raises further questions about Glasgow City’s ongoing dominance in Scotland
Last weekend was one of cup action for both the Scottish and English domestic league sides.
Glasgow City were on the hunt for another title as they took on Celtic at Firhill, meanwhile Wembley hosted last season’s FA Cup final as Arsenal took on Chelsea.
Almost 4,000 fans turned up to watch the Scottish League Cup final, as Celtic FC publicly encouraged their home support to turn up in numbers to see their women’s team fight for their first trophy since 2010.
The game was decided by a solitary goal, – a first-half header from Caitlin Hayes – and, despite an expectation City would then bombard the Celtic goal, it was actually the Hoops who went on to have the better chances.
The win was deserved, but adds to the questions on whether City can maintain their dominance of the Scottish women’s game. They have now lost five cup finals in recent times.
This weekend, in SWPL 1, the two bottom sides meet as Aberdeen travel to Hamilton.
The Dons need a win after a hard run of games recently.
41,000 at Women’s FA Cup final
South of the border, more than 41,000 turned up to the FA Cup final, as the two top London clubs faced off.
Emma Hayes’ post-game interview summed up the occasion as Chelsea ran out 3-0 winners on the day and “painted Wembley blue”.
Both Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby were on the scoresheet, as they showed why they continue to be Chelsea’s magic wand.
Despite Arsenal dominating in possession, they struggled to contain Chelsea’s pace in attack and didn’t even manage a shot on target.
As the FAWSL returns, Chelsea are today’s early kick-off, and have the opportunity to go top with a win over Reading. They currently sit one point behind the Gunners, who have been at the summit since the opening day.
Arsenal will be the late kick-off on Sunday night, hoping to return to winning ways after two consecutive defeats in all competitions. Arsenal take on Leicester at home, who are bottom of the WSL and winless thus far.